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South African Journal of Chemistry

On-line version ISSN 1996-840X
Print version ISSN 0379-4350

S.Afr.j.chem. (Online) vol.64  Durban  2011




Synthesis and antiplasmodial activity of EG-artemisinin ethers and artemisinin-quinoline hybrids



David D. N'Da*; Jaco C. Breytenbach

Pharmaceutical Chemistry, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2520, South Africa




The aim of this study was to synthesize a series of ethylene glycol (EG) ethers and quinoline hybrids of the antimalarial drug artemisinin and to evaluate their antimalarial activity in vitro against Plasmodium falciparum strains. The ethers were synthesized in a one-step process by coupling ethylene glycol (EG) moieties of various chain lengths to carbon 10 of dihydroartemisinin, while the artemisinin-quinoline hybrids were obtained by condensation of dihydroartemisinin with different amine-functionalized quinoline moieties. For solubility reasons, part of the hybrids were converted to oxalate salts upon reaction of the free bases with oxalic acid. All the synthesized compounds were tested against chloroquine (CQ) susceptible (CQS) D10 and chloroquine resistant (CQR) Dd2 Plasmodiumfalciparum strains. The IC50 values revealed that all the ethers were active against both strains but less potent than artemether irrespective of the strain. However, they were more active than CQ against the resistant strain. Ether 8 featuring three EO units was the most active of all ethers. It showed activity similar to that of CQ against D10 and much more potency than CQ against Dd2 strain (IC50, 0.023 vs. 0.473 nM). The hybrids and their salts were also all active against both strains. Hybrid 19 which possessed an isopropyl linker and its oxalate salt 19A: were the most active against the Dd2 strain. They were more potent than CQ (IC50, 0.009 and 0.011 vs. 0.255 nM, respectively).

Keywords: Artemisinin (ART), dihydroartemisinin (DHA), artemether (ARM), chloroquine (CQ), malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, ethylene glycol) (EG), ethylene oxide (EO), hybrid



Full text available only in pdf format.



The authors would like to thank the following: National Research Foundation (funding), North-West University (funding), Claude Leon Foundation (postdoctoral grant), André Joubert (NMR) and Marelize Ferreira (MS).



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Received 16 May 2011
Revised 12 August 2011
Accepted 23 August 2011



Submitted by invitation to celebrate 2011 the 'International Year of Chemistry'.
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:

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